Capture of the Clorinde

25th February 1814 - 26th February 1814
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Surrender of Paxo 13.2.1814
Next action : Primrose vs Duke of Marlborough 12.3.1814

 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Eurotas (38)  21 killed, 39 wounded
Dryad (36) Edward Galway
Achates (16) Isaac Hawkins Morrison
 

Empire Français

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Clorinde (44)  20 killed, 40 wounded Captured
 

Notes on Action


DescriptionTRN5

February 25th, when, being nearly due west of Ushant, heading for Brest, she was sighted by the Eurotas, 38, Captain John Phillimore. The latter at once went in chase. The Eurotas, it should be explained, was one of certain frigates which had been fitted with medium 24-prs., in order to prepare them to meet the heavy American frigates on fairly equal terms. She carried, it would seem, twenty-eight Congreve 24-prs., sixteen 32-pr. carronades, two long 9's, an 18-pr. launch carronade, and a Blomefield 24-pr.: in all, 48 guns. The Clorinde carried twenty-eight long 18-prs., fourteen 24-pr. carronades, and two long 8-prs., or 44 guns in all.

Although the wind shifted to N.W., and fell considerably, the Eurotas gained; and her advantage in this respect was increased by the apparent indecision of the French captain. At 4.45 P.M. fire was opened, and at 5, having bore up, the Eurotas passed under the Clorinde' s stern and discharged her starboard broadside. As she luffed up under her opponent's quarter she received a close fire, and, ere she forged forward on to her enemy's port bow, she lost her mizen mast by the board. At about the same time the Clorinde lost her fore topmast. The Frenchman shot ahead and tried to cross the British frigate's bows; but the Eurotas evaded this by luffing up; and although she could not, as she desired, lay her enemy on board, she passed close under her stern and gave her the port broadside. Thenceforward, until the vessels separated at 7.10 P.M., the action was a very furious muzzle-to-muzzle engagement, the Eurotas losing in succession her main and fore masts, and the Clorinde her mizen and main masts. When the Clorinde stood out of gunshot, her antagonist was temporarily unmanageable. Not till then did Phillimore, who had been dangerously wounded early in the affair, consent to go below, and to hand over the command to Lieutenant Robert Smith, who, by immense exertions throughout the night, got up jury masts of sorts, and was able, by the following noon, to go at a speed of 6.5 knots through the water, and to gain on the Clorinde. It was, therefore, most mortifying when the Dryad, 36, Captain Edward Galwey, and Achates, 16, Commander Isaac Hawkins Morrison, appeared on the scene. Their presence, after some parley, and a single shot from the Dryad, caused the Clorinde to surrender. She had had 20 killed and 40 wounded. The Eurotas's losses had been almost exactly the same. She had had 21 killed, including Midshipmen Jeremiah Spurking and Charles Greenway, and first-class Volunteer John T Vaughan, and 39 wounded, including Captain Phillimore, Lieutenant (R.M.) Henry Foord, and Midshipman Thomas Robert Brigstocke.

The mettle of the Eurotas's crew was shown not less in the celerity with which the crippled ship was refitted than in the spirit with which the action was fought. The British gunnery, however, left much to be desired, or the slaughter in the Clorinde would have been greater. The French, on the other hand, though they fought well against a superior antagonist, evinced little resource, and no power of recuperation. Eighteen hours after the fight, the Clorinde was still as dismantled as she had been at its close. She was towed to Portsmouth, and added to the Navy as the Aurora, a Clorinde already flying the pennant.




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